|Special Seminar at KURCPI
What's Coming Up?
- Special Research Seminar, 4 March 2019
16:30-, The Interdivisional Education and Research Building , 5th
「Evolution of Habu: Accelerated Evolution of Venom Proteins」
HATTORI Shosaku (Amami Laboratory of Injurious Animals, Institute of Medical Science, University of Tokyo)
Habu (Protobothrops flavoviridis) is a venomous snake belonging to subfamily Crotalinae family Viperidae, and inhabits the south part of the Tokara Islands, Amami-Oshima Island, Tokunoshima Island, Okinawa Island and its surrounding islands. Among snakes of the subfamily inhabiting Asia, Habu is the largest species, growing to a length of 2 m and a weight of 2 kg. Because Habu has a wide range of action, nearly 50 cases a year of bites of Habu are reported in Amami-Oshima and Tokunoshima islands.
Habu releases 1 ml of venom by a bite and it contains various venom proteins. Among the proteins, the accelerated evolution has been confirmed in phospholipase A2 and its isozymes having myonecrotic activities. Three isozymes of them with strong myonecrotic activities are specific in the Tokara Islands, Amami-Oshima Island, and Tokunoshima Island, but not in Okinawa Island. Differences between the islands were also found in body color, external morphology and habits. These differences are due to the earth history of the formation of the central parts of the Ryukyu Archipelago.
Habu and Sakishimahabu are important as animals characterizing the biodiversity of Amami-Oshima, Tokunoshima, Okinawa, and Iriomote islands, which the government aims to register as a World Natural Heritage Site. Habu is a viper that harms residents and is a god, a treasure of biological resources, and a tourism resource in this region. I will introduce Habu with its latest research findings.